Universität Wien

290040 PS European regional policy: a critical perspective and applications in Eastern Europe (2020W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course will be held online.

Friday 09.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Digital
Friday 16.10. 14:00 - 18:30 Digital
Friday 23.10. 14:00 - 18:30 Digital
Friday 30.10. 14:00 - 18:30 Digital
Friday 06.11. 14:00 - 18:30 Digital
Friday 20.11. 14:00 - 18:00 Digital
Friday 04.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

European regional policy has strongly evolved in recent decades. While traditional approaches of regional convergence through investment have yielded mixed results, a reorientation towards promoting endogenous growth has begun in the early 1990s.
The course will introduce the history and general tendencies of European regional policy in a critical perspective. Bringing together critical literatures from economic geography and science and technology studies, the imaginaries and assumptions behind European regional policies are discussed, focusing on the case of Eastern European transformation economies.
The course will focus on both Eastern European member states (e.g. Croatia, Slovenia), accession candidates (e.g. Montenegro, Serbia), and neighborhood countries (e.g. Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) and critically discuss whether and how regional policies under European cohesion policy are adapted to the socio-institutional context of these transformation countries.
In the tutorial part of the course, students will work with scholarly literature and publicly available reports and apply the knowledge gained in their written assignment on regional policy in a region of their choice in Eastern Europe, to be elaborated in small groups. The major insights will be presented in the last unit.

Assessment and permitted materials

Students' written contributions to the case study in small groups are the primary course achievements and will be graded (50%). Presentations of the preparatory literature and on the content of the case study will be graded (30%), as will be students' participation in discussions and methodological exercises (20%). The lecturer will give students guidelines on how to work on the case study. For the case study and for methodological exercises, materials to be used include notably literature and insights gained from empirical methods introduced by the lecturer. To pass the course, students will be required to submit at least one contribution to each of the three assessment components.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements for participation include an interest in questions on local and regional development and economic geography. A significant part of literature used is available in English language only. The course will be held in German language. However, depending on a sufficient number of participants willing to work in English, one case study can be written in English.
Participants are required to be present during at least two thirds of the course sessions. In cases of sickness or possible infection, exceptions to the presence requirement are made.

Examination topics

Students' performance in participation, presentations and written case study contributions will be assessed in terms of critical reflection and application of lessons learned according to scientific standards. These lessons learned include notably theory on economic geography and other social sciences, empirical methods, academic writing and critical analysis of regional economic questions. The lecturer will answer students’ methodological questions between and after the course sessions.

Reading list

The following reading list provides recommended references to familiarize students with the primary conceptual foundations of the course. Detailed reading assignments will be distributed among students after registration.

Bathelt, H., Glückler, J. (2003). Toward a relational economic geography. Journal of Economic Geography, 3, 117-144.

Benner, M. (2020). Six additional questions about smart specialization: implications for regional innovation policy 4.0. European Planning Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2020.1764506.

Hassink, R., Gong, H. (2019). Six critical questions about smart specialization. European Planning Studies, 27, 2049–2065.

Matusiak, M., Kleibrink, A. (eds.) (2018): Supporting an innovation agenda for the Western Balkans: tools and methodologies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

OECD (2018). Competitiveness in South East Europe: a policy outlook. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

OECD (2019). Unleashing the transformation potential for growth in the Western Balkans. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Pfotenhauer, S., Juhl, J., Aarden, E. (2019). Challenging the “deficit model” of innovation: framing policy issues under the innovation imperative. Research Policy, 48, 895-904.

Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2020). Institutions and the fortunes of territories. Regional Policy Science & Practice, 12, 371-386.

Tödtling, F., Trippl, M. (2005). One size fits all? Towards a differentiated innovation policy approach. Research Policy, 34, 1203-1219.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S3-PI.f) (MG-S5-PI.f) (W3-PI) (W4-PI) (MR3-PI) (MA UF GW 02-4)

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:22